What do you carry in your day pack
A friend of mine asked me in an e-mail a couple of months ago what do I put into my Day pack? Unfortunately, I never did respond to his email I forgot all about it until recently
So what do I put in my day pack? I guess it depends where I’m going, trying to plan for the situations that might arise for the type of geography and weather that I’m likely come across.
Obviously day hiking in Wisconsin in most seasons does not present as many difficulties as hiking in Glacier National Park with it’s changing elevations, weather, and animals.
I like to carry my o’ s**t bag, whether hiking or backpacking. In this small waterproof bag is a number of things. A flashlight, extra batteries, knife, paracord, fire starters, maybe some water purification tablets, Advil, band aids, and maybe a knife if I don’t already have one.
Having everything in a small bag inside the pack allows me to easily find it and allows me to switch from one pack to another without missing something.
Planning for a hike is the most import way to be prepared. Being ready for changes in weather, temperature, elevation changes, hydration, first aid. Also knowing what time the Sunset is, is essential. Hiking in Wisconsin, the woods get almost dark an hour or two before Sunset. When hiking in the mountains the Sun can set in one valley and not others because of the peaks blocking the light. Getting stuck without a flashlight could be a dangerous situation other times just difficult.
Rain gear is almost always on my list. A jacket and pants, I’m not a big fan of ponchos. I like to pack the rain gear in a waterproof compression bag so that it stays dry. If I have a need to use it, I can put it back in the waterproof bag and not get everything in the pack wet. Just remember to remove it and let it dry later.
Using a pack is an easy way to carry water and stay hydrated. I have never liked the water bladders that go inside the pack, I find they sweat to much. I have used external bladders and loved them but usually use just the simple Nalgene bottles.
One more thing that I almost always have is a pencil and paper. Pens don’t always work and definitely not in cold weather. I have hand drawn maps to help people find their car and I have had people draw me maps on how to find something they thought was special to see.
Food and snacks can add a lot of weight to your pack but choosing the right food can make a good hike great. I like many people could go with eating for some time, but getting in some fuel helps to keep the energy level up and keep a positive attitude, when the weather isn’t cooperating or the going is tough. Some times it as simple as stopping to have a hot cup of coffee or tea and a handful of nuts. A entirely new outlook on life can be achieved, and your ready to hike another 8 miles of muddy trails, pouring rain, and and horse droppings.
Choosing what to bring and what not to bring can sometimes be very challenging. It’s very easy to pack everything. Take time to review what you might need, and hone it down to minimize your weight. Over time you will fine tune it to what you need.